Monday, May 21, 2018

The Red Pyramid (The Kane Chronicles #1) by Rick Riordan

Image result for the red pyramid bookAge Group: Middle Grade
Pages: 544
Publisher:  Disney Press
Publication Date: 16 August 2011
Genre: Middle Grade/Fantasy/Supernatural

Since their mother's death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane. 

One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a "research experiment" at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives. 

Soon, Sadie and Carter discover that the gods of Egypt are waking, and the worst of them —Set— has his sights on the Kanes. To stop him, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey across the globe - a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs

My Thoughts: 

I went into this book already being a big Rick Riordan fan. I had previously read the Percy Jackson series, and I was very impressed with his the way he integrated mythology into the story. Because of this, and my love for Ancient Egyptian mythology, I had very high expectations for this book. I can definitely say that he met and even surpassed my expectations.

I was amazed at how accurately and effortlessly he was able to integrate the Egyptian mythology into the story.  It never felt forced nor did he make up any false mythology to create this story.  Instead, he used different pieces of existing Egyptian mythology to create his story.  He even found a way to work around some of the more inappropriate and weird parts of Egyptian mythology.  For example, he explains away the incestuous nature of the gods by stating that the gods refer to each other by their relationships whatever bodies they inhabit, Ie. if the bodies they inhabit are siblings they will refer to each other as such.

One of the things that I was not expecting was for the book tackle the injustices that are faced by people of color.  The book states that the two main characters, the Kane siblings, are biracial with Carter being much darker than his sister who could pass for white.  Throughout the book, Carter talks about him having to deal with peoples negative perceptions, having to look and act a certain way, and being mistreated due to his skin color. The book also touches on some of the issues Sadie faces being a biracial individual who passes for white, this includes often being seen as different and separate from her family. While I was definitely surprised that this was included in a Middle-Grade novel, I was definitely pleased to see a book not only showcasing these tough subjects but doing so in a way that younger readers can understand and possibly learn from.

While I loved almost everything about the story, I was not the biggest fan of narration style of the book. Riordan has it written as if the reader is listening to a recording of the two main characters.  I don't think I would have minded this style if it had been consistent but the tape portions seemed to pop up sporadically and during other parts, it seemed like normal narration, because of this the book sometimes felt a little choppy.  However, the other aspects of the book were so interesting I was able to overlook the narration.

This book is a very funny and easy read despite being over 500 pages.  The characters are funny and interesting, the plot is well paced and overall enjoyable. I am very interested in seeing what happens next for the Kane siblings.

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